While a common tactic, setting up ersatz outlets to send out fake news and propaganda defies the media stances on disinformation,
Since 2020 and the Capitol riot, one of the through-lines in the press industry has been the desire to stamp out misinformation and disinformation. At the same time, anyone who would dare to criticize the journalism industry with the term “fake news” is considered a threat to the sanctity and elevated status of the news-gathering enterprise.
With this established foundation of intolerance for anything that would impugn the reputation of the press and also pose a threat to our democracy (to drop another common trope in this outrage), it is surprising how little we are hearing from these sources about the revelation of a Democrat party-backed effort to influence or deceive voters with a slew of fake news outlets that have cropped up for the upcoming midterm elections.
Axios has gathered the details of a network of over 50 websites that are positioned as local news outlets. These are centered primarily in swing states and are given very localized names using cities in those regions, in order to appear as if they are legitimate local news sources; The North Clark County Herald, The Tri-City Record, Milwaukee Metro Times, and The Piedmont Tribune are just a few examples. The pages are a mixture of regional news and local stories and even show local weather feeds and other geographic touches throughout the sites.
I’ve had a few people reach out asking for a full list of the 51 sites mentioned in this piece. I put one together here:
— Lachlan Markay (@lachlan) October 7, 2022
But interspersed are a collection of generated pieces that are pure pro-Democrat agitprop, positioned as coming from local news sources. These stories all originate from a solitary source with a small staff who regurgitate content from genuine local reporting for the appearance of genuine local coverage, surrounding the content that props up Dems and slams Republican figures.
This is referred to as “pink slime journalism”, describing pre-fab news outlets with propaganda content, a term derived from the fast food industry where various meat products are combined and constituted into a wad of pink food-like slurry and processed into various items to be sold. While hardly an original move, making this all the more interesting is the environment that this network exists within and the involvement of the names behind it all.
Each of the sites falls under the copyright banner of a Florida entity known as Local Report Inc., operating out of Orlando. Local Report is working together with The American Independent, centered in Washington D.C. TAI is another generator of these pre-fab papers, with state Independent names in the header. Famed Democrat operative David Brock – who created Media Matters For America – founded The American Independent. Deepening the party partisanship, American Independent is backed financially by American Bridge, the massive Democrat Party super PAC.
The Democrat Party has set up a network of faux news outlets across the country.
An Orlando company, Local Report Inc., generates the content for the sites posing as local news outlets.
Story upcoming at @RedState pic.twitter.com/bDAodjCSr6
— Brad Slager: Armageddon A Bit Sick Of All This! (@MartiniShark) October 10, 2022
Axios dug into the content and saw that mostly the features are written by a small set of six writers, with their pieces then inserted into the various sites that were set up. At times they have come under fire for lifting content from legitimate sources and passing it off as original. What is then in place is linkable “news stories” that political figures and Democrat entities send out on social media as items for followers to see and disseminate on their own, as if serious news is being shared.
This is where the remarkable avoidance of criticism comes into play. Again, consider all of the hysterics we have been treated to over misinformation, and the outrage towards anyone with the temerity to utter the phrase “fake news”, and then look at the sound of crickets in response to the reality that the Democrats are generating dozens of fraudulent news sites to influence voters. This is the very thing cited as a reason to silence or de-platform accounts, yet we hear no mewling from the media over this enterprise.
The very complaints heard over the past two years are suddenly not in play. You have noted figures and organizations using these fraudulent and planted stories as political fodder. The Georgia Democrat party has done this, as has the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee, knowing the subterfuge behind these outlets. But there is another manner these outlets are pernicious in subverting other standards the Democrats and the press have established.
Social media has been a particular minefield set up by misinformation opponents, citing everything from the Russian involvement in the 2016 elections to pandemic health worries and now fraudulent election claims as reasons to clamp down on accounts spreading false information. Well, note the lack of diligence on these particular “news sites” being shared. Further, social media outlets are putting clamps on political advertising, but these fake news outlets are able to skirt those restrictions by appearing as legitimate news outlets, all while spewing forth party-approved propaganda.
Why is there no outrage for spreading disinformation? Why do we not hear the voiced concern for the deception of voters and threatening democracy? And where is the concern for the sanctity of the reputation of the journalism industry? Suddenly when actual fake news surfaces all the familiar outcry falls mute. It is all rather telling, by the very fact that so few are willing to tell what is happening nor who is behind it all.
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